"Mr Jaitley Was Writing A Blog": NITI Aayog Boss To Notes Ban Fact-Check

NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that the focus should have been on tax buoyancy, which he says, has witnessed an unusual increase in the past year.

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'Mr Jaitley Was Writing A Blog': NITI Aayog Boss To Notes Ban Fact-Check

NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar defended demonetisation, insisting that the scheme was not a failure.

New Delhi: 

The Reserve Bank of India's latest figures suggest that more than 99 per cent of the demonetised currency came back to the system, prompting criticism that the exercise has been a failure. 

In response, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley posted a blog to argue that the notes ban had succeeded in increasing India's tax compliance.

He cited, among other data, figures showing a rise in tax collections, and of taxpayers. 

NDTV's Reality Check pointed out how the claims made by the Finance Minister do not necessarily show a tax surge because of notes ban and that the increase in tax collections and taxpayers continued to grow after the notes ban at roughly the same pace as they did before the ban. 

NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that the focus should have been on tax buoyancy, which he says, has witnessed an unusual increase in the past year. 

When it was pointed out that a fact-check of those parameters put out by the Finance Minister was done, he said "I expected you would go beyond what the Finance Minister said, because he is obviously just writing a blog."

The data Mr Jaitley put out was not just limited to his blog; he also sent out a series of tweets from his official handle with the same data. 

 

Mr Kumar defended demonetisation, insisting that the scheme was not a failure, and that he supported it on "moral grounds."

Mr Kumar, talking to NDTV, said that he had backed the move from 2007-08, as a means to 'drain the swamp'.  "It (notes ban) was needed to reintroduce probity, integrity in our social and economic system," he said. 

When asked if in hindsight he would recommend the notes ban again, Mr Kumar answered in the affirmative. "I would do it any day to cleanse my economy, to formalise it, (and) to improve tax compliance behaviour," he said.

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